The most recent data from the Reserve Bank of India reveals that credit card spending in May has reached a new record high of Rs 1.4 lakh crore (trillion). Throughout this year, both the total spending on credit cards and the number of active cards have been consistently increasing. In fact, the number of cards in use has risen by over 5 million since January, surpassing 87.4 million in May, which is the highest figure ever recorded. The data also shows that 2 million new cards were added in the first two months of the current fiscal year. This growth trend has been steady, with the number of active cards reaching 82.4 million in January, 83.3 million in February, 85.3 million in March, and 86.5 million in April.
While credit card spending remained in the range of Rs 1.1-1.2 lakh crore throughout the fiscal year, May of this year saw it reach an all-time high of Rs 1.4 lakh crore. Additionally, the average spend on a card reached a new peak of Rs 16,144. HDFC Bank leads the market with the highest number of cards in circulation at 18.12 million, as well as the highest outstanding dues, accounting for 28.5% of the total industry-wide dues. SBI Card comes in second place with 17.13 million cards, followed by ICICI Bank with 14.67 million. Axis Bank ranks fourth with 12.46 million cards, and its recent acquisition of Citi’s retail portfolio has helped it close the gap with ICICI Bank. When Axis Bank acquired Citi’s portfolio in 2022, Citi had 162,150 active card users.
Furthermore, a recent Transunion Cibil report indicates an increase in delinquencies in the credit card portfolios of banks, which rose by 66 basis points to 2.94% in March 2023. This suggests a growing level of financial stress among individuals.